Jordan’s King Abdullah made an announcement on May 7, 2019, about plans to restore some of the destruction to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which has been seen as a monument of civilization to both the religious and the secular alike.
As reported, “The announcement surprised church leaders in Jerusalem who have been unable to reach a funding agreement for fear that a church funding the restoration would make ownership claims to it. Orthodox Church spokesman Father Issa Musleh enthusiastically welcomed the decision in a phone interview with Al-Monitor, saying, ‘The decision of His Majesty King Abdullah II is a dream come true. We have been trying for decades to find a way around the stalemate of who would fund the restoration.’”
The Executive Director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, Wasfi Kilani, stated, that the contribution of Abdullah to the restoration of the church represented both trust and appreciation by the king.
Kilani stated, “Both the Palestinian leadership and the major church leaders expressed support and appreciation for the position of the king as custodian of both Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.”
Abdullah received the Templeton Prize in 2018 with a cash amount tied to the prize of 1.1 million British pounds. He wants to donate an unstated amount to the restoration of the building.
Patriarch Theophilos III, according to the Jordan news agency Petra, said, “[The] king’s personal commitment to the security and future of Jerusalem as the custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in the city” is shown here.
The deterioration of the church has been seen a major problem with the need for some updates and repairs, or restoration. It has been over 200 years according to reports. With this, several interested or intrigued parties find the donation by the King important as a cultural, at a minimum, contribution.
A Palestinian Christian historian and the head of the Islamic-Christian Commission in Support of Jerusalem, Hanna Issa, stated, “There were many reasons why they agreed. The deterioration of the church had reached a dangerous level that required action and the recent moves between Catholics and Orthodox — which were reflected in the historic meeting in February 2016 between the Pope and the [Russian] Orthodox patriarch — also helped.”